Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

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Pintail ducks owe their name to the long, spear-like, dark tail feathers of the drakes in breeding plumage. These feathers are also visible in this specimen, but unfortunately not as impressive as at the peak of courtship. The sexes can be distinguished particularly well in their breeding plumage. The male has a dark brown head with an even darker top. The throat and breast area are white. The nape of the neck is marked by a dark, almost black longitudinal band. A narrow white wedge extends from the back of the head to about the height of the bill. In a similar way to the legs, it is greyish-brown. In its basic plumage, the male has fewer contrasting features and is less colourful, resembling the female. Northern pintails are most elegant due to their external appearance - long bills, unusually long necks for a duck and a relatively slender body. They are alert, agile and fast flyers. Northern pintails forage mainly in the evening and at night on aquatic plants, leaves, buds, roots and (also agricultural) seeds, as well as insect larvae, molluscs and crustaceans. The northern pintail is subject to the European Birds Directive and is specially protected in accordance with § 7 para. 2 nos. 13-14 of the Federal Nature Conservation Law (BNatSchG), listed in Appendix II/A and thus can be hunted from 1 October to 15 January in accordance with §1 of the Federal Directive on Hunting Seasons; at the same time, it is subject to a year-round closed season depending on respective State Directives on Hunting Seasons. It is also listed in the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), but does not enjoy any special conservation status within the CITES agreements.

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